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From the Desk of Jack Healy

Manufacturing Business Opportunities Made Easy

Jack Healy – The voice of manufacturing in Massachusetts
Jack Healy –
The voice of manufacturing in Massachusetts

By Jack Healy, Director of Operations, MassMEP jackh@massmep.org

"U.S Manufacturing Index hits six month high" Institute for Supply Management, 1/2012

This welcome news is supported by a number of recent state indices which show that manufacturing labor markets across the country are seeing slight increases or a leveling in the deterioration of their overall manufacturing employment levels. Similar changes are now occurring in the number of operating manufacturing establishments. The preliminary Q1 2011 Census of Employment and Wages indicates a 2% increase in the important manufacturing category of "factories of over 1,000 employees."

Here in Massachusetts, preliminary census results show the first overall quarter over quarter increase, with 27 additional factories in more than a decade. For Mass manufacturers, employment in 2011 is seeing the first year over year increase in a decade, with an average increase of 3,000 additional new employees. This is a significant increase when you consider that close to $800 million dollars in sales was probably added to our economy to support the additional employment.

What has caused these changes? Obviously there are a number of operations and economic factors in play. One key issue for many of today's hypercompetitive industries is Time to Market. Time to Market requires the manufacturer be close to the customer in order to better respond to market changes. Growth in Time to Market enterprises has opened a whole new series of opportunities for capable suppliers to connect and support the responsiveness needs of this growing sector of manufacturers. 

BuyMass.org One of the easier ways to connect with these new manufacturing opportunities is through web sites, such as BuyMass.org. BuyMass.org is a public / private collaboration between AIM and the Patrick – Murray Administration's Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development commitment. The goal is to create jobs through the growth of the state's regional economies.

This initiative maintains a statewide supplier directory called BuyMass.org that is supported with focused manufacturer-to-supplier matchmaking events throughout Massachusetts. Global companies meet with best-in-class suppliers.  The need for these focused business-to-business meetings came as a direct request to AIM from a number of leading manufacturers, such as Raytheon, Procter and Gamble, General Electric, Solutia, and Mestek. All are now supporting and advising the BuyMass initiative.

The simplicity of the BuyMass process was best described by a Worcester-based CEO who stated, "We looked all over for a part and were about to buy it from China when we learned that a company twenty minutes away could supply this same part very economically." Organizations interested in listing their firms products and services on BuyMass, can do so by contacting RPaine@aimnet.org.

USA National Innovation Marketplace
USA National Innovation Marketplace Another important resource is the USA National Innovation Marketplace. This is the Manufacturing Extension Partnership's (MEP) FREE national registry that connects manufacturers to technology and business opportunities. The result is new markets and new products that provide manufacturers with positions of strength in the global marketplace. The National Innovation Marketplace (NIM) facilitates connections between technology requestors (OEMs) and potential suppliers, and encourages technology translation and adoption.  As a clearinghouse, NIM, the MEP, and their network of partners are facilitating the building of technology-based supplier networks.

Registration for NIM is straightforward and does not cost anything. The process does require that registrants think through what makes their products meaningfully unique to any buyer as well as what keywords will highlight the core capabilities of their company. While the instructions for registration are listed on the NIM web site, MassMEP will provide NIM registration assistance to any interested manufacturer.  Please contact MassMEP Innovation Program Manager, Greg King, at gregoryk@massmep.org

The recent Manufacturing Performance Institute's 2011 Next Generation Manufacturing Survey stated that only "20% of the manufacturers indicated that strategic suppliers and customers represent a competitive advantage to their supply chains." The NIM portal is part of the National MEP initiative, supported by MassMEP, to promote a network of resources to allow for the connection of strategic suppliers and OEM's to help to address this deficit. The NIM portal also provides any of our state's small manufacturing enterprises with a minimum of resources to easily reach a national audience of buyers.

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